Earthquakes put Ridgecrest residents on edge: 'Nobody in this town has slept for days'

A 7.1 earthquake rocked Southern California on Friday night. Multiple fires broke out after it struck 11 miles northeast of the city of Ridgecrest.

RIDGECREST, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Gavin Newsom says President Donald Trump has called him and expressed commitment to helping California recover from two earthquakes that hit the state in as many days.

Speaking to reporters after touring the damage zone, Newsom said Saturday that he and Trump talked about the struggles California has been through, including two devastating wildfires that happened just six months ago.

The Democratic governor said "there's no question we don't agree on everything, but one area where there's no politics, where we work extremely well together, is our response to emergencies."

"He's committed in the long haul, the long run, to help support the rebuilding efforts," Newsom said of Trump.

Newsom on Saturday morning declared a state of emergency for a section of Southern California that saw significant damage after Friday night's magnitude 7.1 earthquake.

The declaration provides immediate state assistance to San Bernardino County, citing conditions of "extreme peril to the safety of persons and property" in the county due to the earthquake.

TIPS FOR EARTHQUAKE SAFETY

  • Get away from windows
  • Duck down beneath a doorway or sturdy piece of furniture
  • Cover the back of your head and neck
  • If outside, get to an open space away from poles
  • Do not take an elevator
  • Have a plan ready with your family or household
  • Build an emergency preparedness kit

IF YOU HAVE PETS

  • Have a pet disaster preparedness kit ready
  • Know where you'll go in an emergency
  • Make sure your animals have identification
  • Keep a photo in case you're separated and need to identify your pet
  • Keep pets away from power lines, debris, and contaminated ground water from broken water mains and sewers
  • Give pets time to re-orient themselves

NO MAJOR STRUCTURAL DAMAGE IN LAS VEGAS

A staff member of the Oakland Raiders told FOX5 on Saturday that the in-progress Las Vegas Stadium had no damage.

"Engineers are checking the site, nothing of note," they said.

In a tweet, Nevada Highway Patrol's Southern Command said no roads were reported damaged in the valley.

Clark County firefighters rescued several people from stopped elevators in four Las Vegas hotels, though no injuries were reported. 

An NBA Summer League game in Las Vegas was stopped after the quake. Speakers over the court at the Thomas & Mack Center continued swaying more than 10 minutes after the quake.

NAVAL WEAPONS STATION EVACUATES

Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake says it authorized evacuations for non-essential employees and their dependents while officials continue to assess earthquake damage to the huge military installation in Southern California.

The epicenters of the 7.1 magnitude quake on Friday and the magnitude 6.4 quake on Thursday were on the base, which is the size of Rhode Island. No injuries were reported.

Access to the base was restricted to mission-essential personnel until Monday morning.

Officials said most employees live off the base, but they authorized the evacuation so those who live on base can be eligible for reimbursements.

The installation in the Mojave Desert is the Navy's largest single landholding

FEMA RESPONDS TO TRONA, CALIFORNIA

Fire officials say as many as 50 structures in the small town of Trona were damaged by the magnitude 7.1 earthquake Friday night in Southern California.

In addition, San Bernardino County Supervisor Robert Lovingood said Saturday that damaged water lines prompted FEMA to deliver a tractor-trailer full of bottled water to the town, and firefighters were checking numerous reports of gas leaks.

The town was temporarily cut off after the earthquake, when officials shut down a highway connecting Trona to Ridgecrest because of rockslides and cracks in the roadway.

Julia Doss, who maintains the Trona Neighborhood Watch page on Facebook, said residents reported that chimneys and entire walls collapsed during the quake.

She said the only food store in town has been shuttered.

The hardscrabble town with 1,500 residents on the edge of a dry lake bed is considered the gateway to Death Valley.

Eugene Johnson is cleaning up his home after the 7.1 magnitude earthquake brought down his brick chimney and fireplace.

The 61-year-old Trona resident said Saturday that he and his wife were in bed watching TV Friday night when the quake started.

They rushed into their living room to hold onto their fish tank and big-screen TV and watched the fireplace collapse.

Dishes crashed out of cabinets, boxes of macaroni fell to the floor and spilled everywhere, and the refrigerator careened halfway across the kitchen.

Johnson says his wife is ready to move back East but he doesn't want to return to snow and cold weather.

LOCAL RIDGECREST BUSINESS DESTROYED

“Luckily the other aftershocks haven’t done anything major. But that was the big sort of turning point in our day was the aftershocks,” Eastridge Market owner Victor Abdullatif said.

Victor and his family own the local 24-hour liquor mart. The first earthquake that struck July 4 knocked over several aisles of alcohol. The next day, they said they never expected another one to strike.

“To our surprise to actually top that ... almost three-fold. The damage was almost 3 to 4 times as bad,” Abdullatif said. “Almost every aisle has wine bottles, liquor bottles on the floor broken."

His liquor store sustained more than $100,000 worth of damage. Even amidst the damage and the bottles the liquor store remained open.

“We’re just thinking about how we can continue to serve our community. How we can continue to stay safe,” Abdullatif said.

Many other businesses around Ridgecrest sustained just as much damage. A local Albertsons grocery store had several aisles topple over in the quake, its exterior siding also crumbled. April Hamlin has lived in Ridgecrest her entire life, and said never has she felt a quake as strong as Friday’s.

“You have glass decoratives in the house that just come tumbling off the entertainment center. A speaker flew down; both earthquakes took it down,” Hamlin said.

Hamlin said she can no longer live in her home until an inspector checks for structural damage. Though, both Abdullatif and Hamlin stayed in high spirits on Saturday. 

“We are Ridgecrest strong. We will come back. This is not going to hold us down,” Hamlin said.

RIDGECREST MAYOR REPORTS BURGLARIES

The mayor of Ridgecrest says there were two reports of burglaries in the Southern California city following the 7.1 earthquake Friday night.

Mayor Peggy Breeden said Saturday that some "bad people" came into the community and tried to steal items from businesses.

Police Chief Jed McLaughlin said one business was burglarized, with an expensive piece of equipment stolen.

A home was also broken into and police are waiting to see what was taken.

Friday's quake occurred a day after a magnitude 6.4 quake hit in the same area of the Mojave Desert about 150 miles from Los Angeles.

Officials say there were some power outages.

WHAT HAPPENED: THE BASICS

No fatalities or major injuries were reported after Friday night's 7.1-magnitude earthquake, which jolted an area from Sacramento to Mexico and prompted the evacuation of the Navy's largest single landholding, Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in the Mojave Desert.

The quake struck at 8:19 p.m. Friday and was centered 11 miles from Ridgecrest, the same area of the desert where a 6.4-magnitude temblor hit just a day earlier. It left behind cracked and burning buildings, broken roads, obstructed railroad tracks and leaking water and gas lines.

The light damage was largely due to the remoteness of the area where the tremblor occurred. Only 28,000 people live in the Ridgecrest area, which is sandwiched between more populated areas of Southern California and Las Vegas' Clark County. But seismologists warned that the area could see up to 30,000 aftershocks over the next six months.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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